Clearwater Farm Creates New Wetland Habitat, Education Space

June 6, 2024

By La Crosse Community Foundation

With grant funding from La Crosse Community Foundation, Clearwater Farm is developing a new wetland habitat and education space. The project aims to educate the community about the importance of wetlands and sustainable practices while providing a hands-on learning environment for all ages.

La Crosse Community Foundation announced the grant today at the Wetland Habitat and Education Space opening later this month at Clearwater Farm’s property on Greens Coulee Road in Onalaska, Wisconsin​​.

The space will serve as a living classroom, demonstrating the benefits of native gardening, water conservation, and reduced chemical usage. It will also highlight the role of wetlands in climate resilience by showcasing their ability to absorb excess rainfall and mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events.

A raised pathway ensures the space is easily accessible to all in the area, making it an ideal spot for school programs and field trips, as well as for community members who want to interact with nature and wildlife, according to Clearwater Farm President Shari Collas.

“This new Wetland Habitat and Education Space offers the community a unique opportunity to learn about wetlands and their place in our ecosystem,” said Collas. “It’s a place where people of all ages can connect with nature, gain valuable knowledge about environmental stewardship, and experience the beauty and functionality of native wetland plants.”

Jamie Schloegel, CEO of the La Crosse Community Foundation, said the project fills a significant need in the community for education promoting sustainable practices and environmental awareness.

“Studies have shown that environmental education programs instill a sense of personal responsibility and motivate people to act on environmental issues and that participants in these programs often continue to engage in conservation efforts long after that initial experience,” said Schloegel.

She also pointed to research shared by the National Environmental Education Foundation indicating environmental education helps people develop a connection to nature, which can lead to improved psychological well-being and physical health.

“This fills an important need in our region and will undoubtedly benefit every one of us in multiple ways,” added Schloegel.

The space will be open during Open Barn Days posted at and special events. Groups can arrange for tours and special visits by contacting

Xcel Energy and Jim Olson provided additional funding for the project.